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Trustees debate student outreach, marketing and increased tuition

Claire Geriak
The Board of Trustees congregate in the McDougall Administration Building monthly in Santa Barbara, Calif. Illustration created on Canva on Nov. 12.

The approval of $200,000 towards Motimatic, a marketing initiative for student outreach online, was passed by the Board of Trustees among other items on Thursday, Feb. 22. 

Motimatic, a FERPA compliant service that uses personal emails and phone numbers to provide advertisements of City College on a student’s social media, was part of a series of budgeting and marketing items that were pulled from the consent agenda for discussion during Thursday night’s meeting.  

The board is composed of elected officials who represent the City College district ranging from Goleta down to Carpinteria. The adoption of the consent agenda includes topics within human resources, academic affairs, student affairs, school of extended learning and business services.

Motimatic is designed to meet students where they are at most, which is online, according to Jordan Killebrew, executive director of public affairs and communications.

“I will be voting no on [Motimatic], and I think that it is a complete waste of money, and there’s no cohesion,” Trustee Veronica Gallardo said.

According to Killebrew, the goal of using Motimatic would be to re-engage with students who have left City College, as well as retain these students when they enroll once more. 

The projected revenue, according to Killebrew, would be over $600,000.

“We got three times what we spent in revenue, plus all the students who are now benefiting from coming back and getting their education,” Trustee Robert Miller said.

The board voted “yes” on the approval of Motimatic, with the expectation of one “no” from Gallardo.

The non-resident tuition fee for City College increased by $10 for the 2024-2025 school year, following the board’s approval of the $361 fee per unit for all out-of-state students.

According to Brian Fahnestock, vice president of City College, the initial fee for non-resident students was projected to be higher for the upcoming school year. 

However, the district recommended that the college establish its own fee that “represents a gradual, moderate, increase for the prior year,” according to the board agenda.

“We do appreciate making it as low as [City College] possibly could for our international students,” Student Trustee Sophia Kofoed said. 

All board members voted “yes” on the approval of the new fee. 

The board approved a total of $162,899 for an agreement with Wells Marketing for the summer and fall of 2024. 

Wells Marketing is a vendor that utilizes established relationships with various media outlets to garner ideal value and placement for City College advertising, according to the board agenda.

According to Gallardo, advertising at the Santa Barbara Airport is a waste of money. 

“The tens of thousands of dollars that it costs to travel out of Santa Barbara is certainly not the amount of money, or the market, for the folks that we need to be serving [at City College],” Gallardo said. 

Trustee Miller added that there was a “multiplicity” of areas within the media to use for advertising, as opposed to just the airport. 

“The demographic that’s not at the airport [are] the gardeners that come home after being in Montecito and Hope Ranch,” Gallardo said. “The mates, the cooks, the line workers…those are the population that is not hanging out at the airport.”

Trustee Anna Everett provided her last response to the board regarding Gallardo’s disapproval. 

“I don’t know whether or not janitors or people who are doing manual labor and other kinds of working-class jobs are flying or not, but I’m not going to assume that they are not,” Everett said.  

The board voted “yes” to the marketing agreement, with the exception of one “no” from Gallardo.

The board will hold their next regular meeting on Thursday, March 7. 

Correction: Feb. 24, 2024
A previous version of this story used the word “complaint.” The word “compliant” was the intended word.   

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